|Return Deadline||14 days|
|Penalty for Late Return||2x Deposit or 1 Month’s Rent + Court Costs + Attorneys’ Fees|
For laws on security deposit collections and holdings in Nebraska, click here.
Security Deposit Deductions in Nebraska
In Nebraska, the following things can be deducted from security deposits:
Unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees
Costs of damage excluding normal wear and tear
- Costs due to a breach of the lease agreement
Most states, such as Nebraska, do not have a legal limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages except that the charges must be reasonable.
If the cost of the damages exceeds the amount of the security deposit, landlords are entitled to seek additional damages from the former tenant.
What is Considered Normal Wear & Tear vs Damage in Nebraska?
Normal wear and tear is damage that is expected when a rental unit is used in a normal way, such as gently worn carpets and faded walls. Damage is the destruction caused by abusive or negligent use of a rental unit, like ripped carpets and heavily stained walls.
“Normal wear and tear” is deterioration that occurs naturally as a result of the tenant using the property as it was designed to be used.
- Gently worn carpets
- Lightly scratched glass
- Faded paint and flooring
- Lightly dirtied grout
- Loose door handles
- Stained bath fixtures
“Damage” means destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant during the course of the tenancy.
- Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets
- Broken tiles or windows
- Holes in the wall
- Missing fixtures
Can the Landlord Charge for Replacing the Carpet in Nebraska?
Yes, landlords can charge for replacing the carpet if it is damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
Some wear and tear on a rental unit’s carpet is expected after normal day-to-day use of the property. For example, carpets typically become discolored, indented, or gently worn, when used in a normal way. However, non-typical, abusive use of carpet results in rips, visible stains, or burns. Landlords have the right to charge the tenant for the replacement of the carpet in areas where serious damage has occurred.
Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Nebraska?
Yes, landlords can charge a tenant for nail holes if they damage the walls in a way that is not a result of ordinary enjoyment of the rental unit.
Tenants have the right to use the walls within their unit in a reasonable way. This includes inserting small nails or thumbtacks to hang posters or pictures. However, large holes from drilling, multiple nail holes, large nail holes, and holes made for hanging heavier things may be considered damage and thus, chargeable to the tenant.
Can the Landlord Charge a Cleaning Fee in Nebraska?
Nebraska law allows landlords to charge for cleaning costs limited to bringing the residence back to its original condition at the start of the lease term, except for normal wear and tear.
Can the Landlord Charge for Painting in Nebraska?
Yes, in Nebraska, landlords can charge for painting, except for normal wear and tear. For example, if the tenant:
- Causes damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Repaints the wall but is not permitted to do so under the lease agreement
- Repaints the wall in an unprofessional way
Ordinary wear includes minor scrapes from daily use, fading due to sunlight, or minor cracks in the original paint. Landlords can charge for repainting if the damage is not the result of normal use. This includes stains, large or deep scratches, and water damage.
Can a Security Deposit Be Used for Last Month’s Rent in Nebraska?
Nebraska law does not forbid the security deposit from being used for any outstanding rent.
Landlords can include a provision in the lease agreement that the security deposit cannot be used for the last month’s rent until the tenant vacates the rental unit.
Security Deposit Returns in Nebraska
Landlords must return a security deposit by mail or hand-delivery with an itemized statement of deductions, if any, to the tenant’s forwarding address no later than 14 days after the lease term ends.
How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Security Deposits in Nebraska?
Nebraska landlords have 14 days after the lease term ends to return any unused portion of the security deposit.
Do Landlords Owe Interest on Security Deposits in Nebraska?
Unlike in some states, such as New Jersey, landlords in Nebraska do not owe interest on security deposits.
How Do Landlords Give Notice / What Information Do They Have to Provide in Nebraska?
Written notice must be mailed or hand-delivered to the tenant’s forwarding address and must include the amount of the security deposit due, if any, to the tenant, plus an itemized statement of deductions.
If the tenant does not provide a forwarding address or delivery instructions, the landlord must send the written notice and balance of the security deposit, if any, to the tenant’s last known address by first-class mail.
If the security deposit is returned as undeliverable or otherwise unclaimed by the tenant after one year, it must be reported to the State Treasurer as unclaimed property.
Security Deposit Disputes in Nebraska
If landlords do not return the security deposit within the 14-day period, tenants can file for the return of the security deposit in court plus damages up to one month’s rent or twice the amount of the deposit, whichever is less, plus court costs and attorneys’ fees.
Tenants can also take legal action against a landlord for:
- Failure to provide written notice when deductions are made
- Unreasonable deductions
How Can Tenants File a Dispute for a Security Deposit in Nebraska?
If a landlord fails to return the security deposit, the tenant can file a dispute in Small Claims Court if the amount of damages is less than $3,900. If the amount is greater, the tenant must file a civil case in County Court.
A small claims case must be filed within 4 or 5 years depending on whether the lease agreement was oral or written. An attorney is not required or permitted except to perform limited court functions. Cases are filed in the Small Claims Court for the county where the property is located or where the defendant lives or works. The filing fee is $29.
Our website provides more information about the process of filing a dispute in Small Claims Court.
- 1 NRS § 76-1416
…money held by the landlord as prepaid rent and security may be applied to the payment of rent and the amount of damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant’s noncompliance with the rental agreement or section 76-1421.Source Link
- 2 NRS § 76-1416
The balance…shall be delivered or mailed to the tenant within fourteen days after the date of termination of the tenancy.
- 3 NRS § 76-1416
The balance, if any, and a written itemization shall be delivered or mailed to the tenant…
- 4 NRS § 76-1416
If no mailing address or instructions are provided by the tenant to the landlord, the landlord shall mail, by first-class mail, the balance of the security deposit to be returned, if any, and a written itemization of the amount of the security deposit not returned to the tenant’s last-known mailing address.Source Link
- 5 NRS § 76-1416
If the mailing is returned as undeliverable, or if the returned balance of the security deposit remains outstanding for one year, it shall be considered abandoned property to be reported and paid to the State Treasurer in accordance with the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.Source Link
- 6 NRS § 76-1416
…the tenant may recover the property and money due him or her, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees. In addition, if the landlord’s failure…is willful and not in good faith, the tenant may recover an amount equal to one month’s periodic rent or two times the amount of the security deposit, whichever is less…Source Link
- 7 Neb. Sup. Ct. R. 6-1462
…each small claims court shall have jurisdiction in all civil actions…where the amount in controversy is $3,900 or less.Source Link